Asset Forfeiture Defense Lawyer Philadelphia
Forfeiture petitions can be filed by both state and federal courts when the government alleges that the property they want to take from you were the proceeds of unlawful activity, such as Drug Dealing, loan sharking, or any other illegal act.
In the last ten years, Pennsylvania law enforcement has taken over $100 million in property from people in the Commonwealth. The process was initially targeted at the “drug kingpin” who moved large amounts of cash and bought property with that cash, but it has been increasingly used against people who haven’t done anything wrong.
One prominent case in Philadelphia highlighted the problem: the District Attorney’s office filed to take the house of the defendant’s parents just because he was arrested with drugs in the house. The parents never knew the defendant was selling drugs and no drugs were sold in the house. Even if prosecutors don’t try to take your house, they can and do routinely file forfeiture petitions, even on small amounts of money.
In the City of Philadelphia, and in the suburban counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, prosecutors will move to seize even small amounts of money for their law enforcement coffers. They can seize your cash, car, or even home. Before prosecutors take steps to take your property, you need to consult with an attorney.
How Can the Government Take My Property?
Pennsylvania’s civil asset forfeiture laws allow for property to be taken when it is reasonably connected to the sale or distribution of drugs. This includes: cars driven to commit a purported drug delivery, cash in your pocket, or anything else that they can connect to “potential” drug dealing.
The civil asset forfeiture process follows two paths: 1) the prosecution of the crime they allege you committed; and 2) the civil filing against you by the District Attorney’s Office. Usually, the civil forfeiture case will be continued while the criminal case is defended. Even if you win the criminal case, the government can still file to take your property because the standard of law is different in civil forfeiture cases. This means you’re still fighting the government after a “not guilty” verdict on your criminal case.
Philadelphia Asset Forfeiture Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know is a subject of a civil asset forfeiture, contact one of the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today. We will evaluate your case in order to find the best way to make sure you keep your hard earned money.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.